Tomorrow I will be attending the Online Community Unconference in Mountain View, CA.  It's been a little bit over a year since the last time I attended this conference, and I'm looking forward to seeing whether or not people's focus has changed over the past year.  Last year most of the topics revolved around two themes:

  • How do I measure my ROI (return on investment) in my online community so I can justify my existence to my management?
  • How do I design a reputation system in my online community that makes my community more "sticky" but not necessarily ultra-competitive?

I was very interested in reputation a year ago, and it remains something that I think is of paramount important.  As a corollary to that, I'm also very interested how to give the community the power to solve their own disputes and quarrels.  I've recently been in the middle of a few online mud-slinging sessions.  They are ugly and take away from the focus of the community.  The way they are currently "resolved" is through emails directly to me.  Ugh--that breaks down pretty quickly...I can't respond to all of the mails, it's not really my business, and frankly, I'm not going to be the point contact for the MSDN Forums forever.

From this conference, I'm going to try to get some "best practices" from other community managers on how they deal with this all-too-common occurrence.  If anybody else reading is attending and wants to chat, get a beer, dinner, or whatever, let me know!

And, now, off to SeaTac!